Defense Date

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Mathematical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Ghidewon Abay Asmerom

Abstract

There are numerous applications of mathematics, specifically spectral graph theory, within the sciences and many other fields. This paper is an exploration of recent applications of spectral graph theory, including the fields of chemistry, biology, and graph coloring. Topics such as the isomers of alkanes, the importance of eigenvalues in protein structures, and the aid that the spectra of a graph provides when coloring a graph are covered, as well as others.The key definitions and properties of graph theory are introduced. Important aspects of graphs, such as the walks and the adjacency matrix are explored. In addition, bipartite graphs are discussed along with properties that apply strictly to bipartite graphs. The main focus is on the characteristic polynomial and the eigenvalues that it produces, because most of the applications involve specific eigenvalues. For example, if isomers are organized according to their eigenvalues, a pattern comes to light. There is a parallel between the size of the eigenvalue (in comparison to the other eigenvalues) and the maximum degree of the graph. The maximum degree of the graph tells us the most carbon atoms attached to any given carbon atom within the structure. The Laplacian matrix and many of its properties are discussed at length, including the classical Matrix Tree Theorem and Cayley's Tree Theorem. Also, an alternative approach to defining the Laplacian is explored and compared to the traditional Laplacian.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

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